Most charges dismissed against ex-Blackwater execs

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 22, 2013 at 2:27 pm •  Published: February 22, 2013
Advertisement
;

Several of the federal charges were related to a Bushmaster M4 rifle, three Glock handguns and a Remington shotgun presented to King Abdullah and his traveling entourage during a 2005 visit to Blackwater's headquarters. Prosecutors said the weapons were part of a bid for Blackwater to land a lucrative security contract with Jordan and that registration records tracking the guns were later falsified to claim the weapons were sold to individuals.

Though many documents in the court file are still under seal for national security reasons, it appears the government's case began to unravel last year when defense lawyers produced sworn statements from two retired CIA officials who said they knew about the weapons presented to the king.

John Macguire, who described himself as a CIA officer for 23 years ending in 2005, and Charles Seidel, who said he was CIA station chief in the Jordanian capital of Amman in 2005, said they would be willing to testify about their knowledge of government involvement if the spy agency allowed it.

"I have information related to the transfer of firearms to the King of Jordan described in numerous counts of the indictment and how the U.S. government's authorization for the transfer of those weapons took place," Maguire said in a statement filed with the court.

A group of investors bought Blackwater in December 2010 from Prince, renaming the company Xe. It changed names again the following year, becoming ACADEMI.

On Friday, company spokeswoman Kelly Gannon said none of the former Blackwater executives worked for ACADEMI or the current ownership.

Last year, ACADEMI settled federal criminal charges against the company, paying a $7.5 million fine over the firearms violations, lying to federal regulators, illegally shipping body armor overseas and passing secret plans for armored personnel carriers to firms in Sweden and Denmark without U.S. government approval.

The Arlington, Va.-based company settled lawsuits brought by survivors of the Iraqi civilians killed during the Baghdad shooting. ACADEMI also settled a lawsuit brought by families of former Blackwater security guards who were killed and mutilated during a botched mission through Fallujah in 2004.

Two of the Blackwater employees' charred bodies were photographed hanging from a bridge while a crowd of Iraqis that included children cheered, producing one of the most indelible and disturbing images of the war.

___

Follow Associated Press writer Michael Biesecker at twitter.com/mbieseck